United defender Raynes needs extra time to recover

Witney Gazette: Michael Raynes is still not ready to return to action for Oxford United after a hip injury Michael Raynes is still not ready to return to action for Oxford United after a hip injury

Michael Raynes is still not ready to make his Oxford United comeback against Mansfield Town today, but Alfie Potter, Ryan Williams and Sean Rigg are all vying for places on the bench.

The U’s injury crisis is showing signs of improvement, although it is unlikely any of the returning players will be thrown straight into the starting line-up for this afternoon’s Sky Bet League Two clash.

Caretaker boss Mickey Lewis was hoping Raynes would make last week’s 1-1 draw at Bristol Rovers, but said it was clear he needed longer to recover from a hip injury.

“Raynsey is such a brave lad that he tried to put himself out there and was desperate to train, but when he did last Friday, it was pretty obvious he wasn’t ready,” Lewis said.

“He won’t make Saturday and it’s just the healing process with him because it was such a bad whack.

“Sometimes you have to take the decision away from the player, but in this case it was blatantly obvious even to him.

“But full credit to the lad because he was desperate to be involved. He was still a bit sore, wanted to get it moving again, but it just wasn’t to be.”

Lewis added: “We’ve got some good options on the bench now. If we can get Alfie, Riggy and Ryan back it will be a great lift.”

Mansfield defender Lee Beevers may be in line for a return, while Ben Hutchinson could come into the side.

Jack Speight (knee) is out.

Oxford Utd: from Clarke, Bevans, Hunt, Mullins, Newey, Wroe, Rose, Ruffels, Smalley, Kitson, Constable, Connolly, Potter, Williams, Rigg, O’Dowda, Marsh, Davies, Long, Henly.

Mansfield Tn: from Marriott, Westlake, Jennings, Beevers, Tafazolli, Dempster, Riley, Clements, Howell, Rhead, Clucas, Stevenson, Sutton, Dyer, Hutchinson, Meikle, McGuire, Daniel, Palmer.

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